Shirana Shahbazi travelling with her family in Southern California, 2008. Photo by Shirana Shahbazi.
about the residency program
In 2006 the Hammer Museum deepened its existing programs with artists and formalized its Artist Residency Program as part of a multipronged initiative to integrate artists within the artistic, programmatic, and institutional dimensions of the museum. The format of the newly reformulated residency program was guided by the museum’s Artist Council, an advisory board of internationally recognized artists who work closely with Hammer staff and advise on all aspects of the museum’s operations. On the council’s recommendation the Hammer instituted a process-oriented, artist-led residency program. Each artist is invited by the museum and works closely with a member of the programming staff. Some residencies lead to an exhibition or program, and others are open-ended, with research and experience as primary goals. Artists are encouraged to engage with the UCLA community through lectures, workshops with students, meetings and collaborations with faculty members, and research in the university’s many collections.
A hallmark of the Hammer’s program is the degree of support provided to the artists-in-residence. Hammer staff aid in research and introduce artists to the area with a focus on locations of interest to each individual artist. The museum arranged for Johan Grimonprez to work with the UCLA Film and Television and Academy of Motion Picture Archives and with student interns from UCLA and CalArts. Kendell Carter met with academics studying hip-hop and attended “Rap Sessions: A Community Dialogue on Race,” a panel addressing the hip-hop movement and racial politics, organized by the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. Jamie Isenstein visited the Magic Castle, a private clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts; the Museum of Jurassic Technology; and the Venice boardwalk. Sun Xun met with animators at Dreamworks and visited the Getty Museum. Moving forward, artists in residence will also work closely with members of the Artist Council. These alliances—along with the museum’s efforts to connect artists with curators, critics, and artists who might be interested in their work—form the underpinnings of a growing international network of artists with ties to Los Angeles.
In many cases, these artists also form deepening relationships to the public that the Hammer Museum serves. Besides creating dynamic new work for public display in the Hammer Project spaces, many participate in free public programs, artists talks, and walkthroughs. Several artists such as Johan Grimonprez, Aida Ruilova, Sharon Hayes, and Edgar Arceneaux involved students and volunteers extensively in their projects. The prolonged time in residence allows for strong connections to form between the artists, the museum, and the public, giving interested visitors and students much greater access to the artists and their work.
During the past three years a number of works that take Los Angeles as their subject matter or that are influenced by the unique social and natural attributes of Southern California have been produced. Erik van Lieshout’s videos Guantánamo Baywatch (2007) and Homeland Security (2007) have been shown in Minneapolis, Zurich, Munich, and Amsterdam. Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg’s new work, inspired in part by the gardens in Southern California, recently won the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale. Aïda Ruilova made her first video with a professional actor, working with the legendary Karen Black as well as artist Raymond Pettibon.
The Hammer’s residency program has also allowed the museum to support a number of international and cross-disciplinary collaborations, including a partnership between London-based poet Caroline Bergvall and Los Angeles–based visual artist Rodney McMillian. Working together with video, performance, text, and sound, the two artists are looking for a common place between text and image to situate their work. The Hammer also undertook a unique institutional collaboration with former Hammer Projects artist Edgar Arceneaux, supporting the relaunch of Watts House Project, a collaborative artwork that takes the form of a neighborhood redevelopment project.
The Hammer is deeply grateful to the James Irvine Foundation and their Artistic Innovation Fund for making this residency program possible.
James Irvine Foundation